Level 1 ᐱᒥᓇᐊᐧᓱᐃᐧᑲᒥᐠ piminawasowikamik/Kitchen Table Conversations


The Cree word "piminawasowikamik" (ᐱᒥᓇᐘᓱᐏᑲᒥᐠ) is a compound word that embodies a concept deeply rooted in Indigenous ways of living and learning. Let's break down the word for a clearer understanding:

"pimina-": This part of the word is derived from "pimî" (ᐱᒦ), which means "to float" or "to drift." It implies a sense of movement or journey. "waso-": This segment is related to "wasow" (ᐘᓱᐤ), which means "to shine," "to be bright," or "to be clear." It can be associated with clarity or enlightenment. "-wikamik": This suffix comes from "wikamik" (ᐏᑲᒥᐠ), meaning "house" or "home."

Putting it together, "piminawasowikamik" can be translated as a "lodge of enlightenment" or a "place where clarity or understanding is found." In a broader cultural context, this word is often used to refer to spaces where knowledge is shared and wisdom is gained, akin to a learning center or a place of gathering for discussion and education.

In the context of Indigenous education and knowledge sharing, "piminawasowikamik" represents more than a physical space; it symbolizes a culturally grounded approach to learning where knowledge is shared communally and respectfully, often in a manner that is non-hierarchical and inclusive of various perspectives. This aligns with Indigenous principles of learning that emphasize relationality, experience, and the interconnectedness of all things.

Exploring Indigenous Knowledge Sharing: A Practice of Informal Visits through CTL's Kitchen Table Conversations on Indigenizing Curricula and Pedagogies
ᐱᒥᓇᐊᐧᓱᐃᐧᑲᒥᐠ piminawasowikamik/Kitchen Table Conversations: The concept of visiting with each other to gather information, rather than “meeting” or “interviewing” to get information in a one directional way.  Engagements through visiting are Indigenous ways of gathering knowledge in oral form and are used in informal or “neutral” or “happy” common spaces, like at someone’s kitchen table.

Visiting gets to the “heart” of things, rather than using the intellect (or head). It is a more wholistic process to exchange information (utilizing the head, heart, physical, and emotional quadrants of the medicine wheel) and it allows one to get to know others (through reciprocity and relationality) in what seems like an informal or more casual way but it is just as useful for long term learning and information gathering, if not MORE useful.

medicine wheel with the words sacred, physical, emotional and intellectual.png

Within Indigenous communities, the act of gathering, reflecting, and exchanging knowledge through personal visits and informal spaces, such as someone's kitchen table, holds deep significance. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of teaching and learning in the era of truth and reconciliation, CTL (Center for Teaching and Learning) is proud to host a series of thrice-monthly events called Kitchen Table Conversations this fall. These conversations are facilitated by Métis Lead Educational Developer Andrea Menard and Tsilquot'in Nation Educational Developer Lori Ireland, facilitating discussions on Indigenization from Indigenous perspectives. Kitchen Table Conversations provide a space for engaging in sharing, equity, and heart-centered learning, practising the 5R's of relationality, respect, reciprocity, responsibility, relationships and relevance, and aligning with Indigenous values and practices. Settler educators from all levels - instructors, graduate students, and parafaculty educators - who are interested in teaching and learning from an Indigenized framework are warmly welcomed to join these sessions.

Time Commitment: Wednesday's 10 - 11 a.m. Mountain time - specifically, January 17 & 24, February 7 &14, March 13 & 20, April 3 & 10, 2024.

Andrea Menard, LLB, LLM, PhD student (she/they/ᐃᐧᔭᐋᐧᐤ wiyawâw), Métis Nation of Alberta citizen, Lead Educational Developer, Indigenizing Curricula and Pedagogies, Centre for Teaching and Learning 

Lori Ireland, (she/they), Tŝilhqot'in Nation, Educational Developer, Indigenous Curriculum and Pedagogy, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Format: Synchronous, online, and discussions to be in a Sharing Circle format for most of the hour. Participants will receive further learning materials, as the sessions progress.

Possible Topics: Working together as a group, we will decide the key themes we will address in our community. Some possible topics include the following:

  • Integrating Indigenous Knowledge Systems: This topic will focus on exploring ways to incorporate Indigenous knowledge systems, epistemologies, and pedagogies into the curriculum, highlighting the value and richness of Indigenous perspectives and methodologies.
  • Decolonizing the Classroom: This conversation will address strategies for challenging and dismantling colonial power dynamics and biases in the educational environment, fostering a more inclusive and respectful space for Indigenous students and faculty.
  • Indigenous Languages and Cultural Revitalization: This discussion will explore the importance of incorporating Indigenous languages and cultural practices into the curriculum, emphasizing the role of language revitalization in fostering cultural resilience and identity.
  • Land-based Learning and Traditional Ecological Knowledge: This topic will focus on integrating land-based learning and traditional ecological knowledge into the curriculum, showcasing the importance of connecting with the natural world and promoting sustainable living practices.
  • Storytelling and Oral Traditions: This conversation will delve into the significance of storytelling and oral traditions in Indigenous cultures, exploring ways to weave these rich narratives into course materials and classroom discussions.
  • Culturally Responsive Assessment and Evaluation: This discussion will explore innovative assessment methods that recognize and honor Indigenous ways of knowing and learning, ensuring that evaluations are more equitable, culturally relevant, and respectful of diverse learning styles.
  • Building Allyship and Collaboration: This topic will address the importance of fostering strong, respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty and students, encouraging cross-cultural understanding and collaboration in the development of Indigenized curricula.

Capacity: Since communities of practice work best when they are smaller, each Kitchen Table Conversation will be capped at 20 participants. However, we are open to developing further Kitchen Table Conversations in the future where there is an interest.

Fill out the Winter Term 2024 Expression of Interest